Vic A&E getting better but still missing target

A&E waiting times improving at the Vic
A&E waiting times improving at the Vic

A number of patients attending at Victoria Hospital’s accident and emergency department are still waiting more than four hours for treatment according to latest figures.

An Audit Scotland report published last week has revealed that between April 2012 and December 2013, the Kirkcaldy hospital’s A&E department repeatedly failed to meet the Scottish Government’s target of 98 per cent of patients being seen within four hours, with this target only being met on three occasions.

As a result of slipping standards across Scotland this target was reduced to 95 per cent last year. Victoria Hospital has achieved this interim target figure for five months.

The hospital’s target times averaged 93.6 per cent over the past year, but dipped as low as 88 per cent in December.

The ‘Accident and Emergency Performance Update’ from Audit Scotland has shown that across Scotland performance against the four hour A&E waiting times target has deteriorated with the number of patients who waited longer than four hours increasing from around 36,000 in 2008/09 to around 104,000 in 2012/13, although performance improved during 2013.

Heather Knox, director of acute services at NHS Fife, said: “Patient care is central to everything we do, and the health board is constantly striving to improve the experiences of its patients.

“Not only has the board committed £4m to a programme of investment within the Local Unscheduled Care Plan (LUCAP), with a further investment planned this year, but innovations such as the joint discharge hub and the deployment of patient flow co-ordinators in A&E have allowed us to improve the experiences of those patients who may unexpectedly require our services.

“Importantly, the health board has made significant progress over the last 12 months and our current performance relating to the A&E Access Standard is around 96 per cent.

“However, despite this progress, NHS staff continue to work hard to put in place additional resources and develop new ways to manage the flow of emergency patients. This is a whole-system approach across all our hospitals.

“Ultimately, whilst we recognise there is still a lot of work to do, I’m pleased we continue to see improvements and we will endeavour to carry on in this direction.”